Whitetail hunting kicked off with the arrival of September, putting treestands back into play for the season. Early season bowhunts have many advantages, including the fact you get to hunt unpressured bucks, patternable bucks and large groups of bachelor bucks that oftentimes lounge in full daylight as they feed.
As good as this all sounds, don’t rush in to take advantage of the seemingly fish-in-a-barrel scenario. Although young bucks may put up with your presence, mature bucks will disappear at the first hint of your deadly intentions. They may not move to a new core area, but they will lean toward nocturnal activity or at least feeding in a forested setting until dark.
So how do you get around this guarded situation? You need to hunt only when conditions are perfect. First, avoid mornings unless you have a great backdoor entrance. Walking near a food source to your stand in the dark of the morning usually results in fleeing deer.
Next, hunt only when the winds are perfect. You may only get one chance at a mature buck, so only use your stand when the winds offer concealment and the buck some security in entering a field. Crosswinds usually provide this benefit to both predator and prey.
Finally, have a backup plan. Place a treestand in a secondary location or stake a ground blind on an opposite corner to take advantage of wind shifts and weather changes.
Early season can be the best season, but you need to be patient and only hunt when the stars and planets align.